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Diggers Rest – Who's eating what? Eco gardening tips; World Champion Pesto
November 25, 2016

November 2016 Issue #135


What fun that we both love gardening. Thanks for joining me.

1) Who's eating what?
2) Eco gardening tips
3) World Champion Pesto

basil plant for pesto
See how to turn basil into prize-winning pesto on Facebook. I've never read such detailed instructions on how to make pesto... the words are like music. If you're a basilholic and a perfectionist, each drop of temperature controlled water, each whir of the blade is described in glowing terms!

The less descriptive recipe is at the end of this newsletter for you.

Eco gardening tips

  • Who's eating what?
    On one of my Q&A pages, Marise asks whether centipedes are eating her rhubarb. As usual good advice follows, and I like this from MGSteve ...And also it's very important to determine if the creature you see on a plant is the one who was eating it or the one who ate what was eating the plant. Chances are that if you don't see the insect eating the plant then it isn't what's been eating the plant. Get it!

  • Be a soil detective
    If you've had trouble with your seedlings and plants, and you suspect the problem is your soil, particularly bought in soil, then do a test.

    Get a plant pot or two and fill with your soil. Put pots in a different area from where you garden soil is, maybe even under your eagle eye inside. Sow some easy, quick growing seeds such as corn or beans and tend to them carefully, keeping moist with a reasonably even temperature.

    If strong healthy seedlings grow and develop into good plants, then your soil is okay and your garden problems must be some external factor. Suspects could be spray drift, too much or too little water, or weather, such as lack of sun, too cold, too hot or stunting wind.

  • Thyme flies
    Here's yet another fly repellant... and I tried it with surprisingly good results. Make a cup of thyme tea, either about 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme or 1 big teaspoon of dried thyme, steeped in a mug of boiled water. When cool, strain into a spray bottle, add a drop of two of detergent and spray any flies in the air, on window and door frames, countertops etc. If spray lands on food or table, it's safe, but the flies hate it and will rapidly disappear and stay away.

Growing veg planner

A week by week and zone by zone growing system

Want to know what vegetables to plant?

Want to know when to plant them?

The GroVeg Garden Planner is your answer. Click here for a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL!

World Champion Pesto

Chef Danny Bowien won the title of 2008 World Pesto Champion, which has since become the subject of internet legend.


  • 3 packed cups basil leaves (100 grams, from 2 large bunches)
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts (untoasted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more to taste
  • 3/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino Romano (using a Microplane grater, 12 grams)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano (using a Microplane grater, 12 grams).


  • Wash the basil leaves in a big bowl of cold water, changing out the water as needed if the leaves are sandy.
  • Put pine nuts and salt in blender, along with 1/2 cup of the olive oil, or enough to cover the blades. Blend briefly, then add the basil to the blender, shaking lightly but leaving a bit of the cold water clinging to the leaves. Add a small clove of garlic and remaining olive oil.
  • Gently pulse this all together in the blender until well mixed, smooth and bright green.
  • Add the cheeses and blend the mixture one final time, just enough to evenly disperse the cheese. The result should be a fresh, light pesto in a vibrant shade of green. Taste and adjust the salt, cheese, and consistency to your liking.
  • Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for no more than four days or freeze (in ice cube trays or flat in freezer bags).

Preparation: 30 minutes.

Serves: Makes almost 2 cups of pesto, enough to sauce 1 pound of pasta with some left over for other meals.

Live, love and garden.

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